It’s likely that I was disposed to admire this novel because I had streamed the series on Prime and enjoyed it, and this also meant I knew what was coming. The world building is very strong and underscores that the novel originates from a deeply conceived game universe. The environment on Ceres and the depiction of space travel are both detailed and I felt a tangible connection to the settings. There is a sense of slightly hackneyed noir to the whole, but I was willing to forgive that because I already expected this from the TV version, which was developed and managed by the book authors. There is a wearying quality to the action sequences, which pass much more quickly in the filmed version. But this is handled about as well as could be expected and is engaging. This is the novel in the series in which I had the most empathy for the belters since the portrait of Ceres was so vivid, and the idea of the underclass of the solar system resonates with reality, though it is a bit naive in formulation. The book works because the writing is very fine. This is the opening of one of the best novel series I have ever read, probably top two, given the fact that I adored Tolkien through so much of my youth, despite the stilted quality of his prose in the high action parts of the book. The Expanse books never make that mistake, and the journey is immense.